Threatened, by Eliot Schrefer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3/5 stars
Publication: February 25, 2014, by Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover Edition (borrowed)
Goodreads Summary: Into the jungle. Into the wild. Into harm's way.
When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home -- chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night.
Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job.
Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family -- and must act when that family comes under attack.
As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.
"I shut the book, smoothed my hands over the cover, and toyed with the spirals at the edge. I wanted to live inside that book. Which is how I knew I was staying."
When beginning and ending this book, this is how I felt and reacted:
At first, I decided to read this book because Eliot's debut, Endangered, was pretty good. It was well-written and captivating for my liking. He always deals with a concept that is unique and fresh. I dove right into it, considerably enjoying it through the middle. But by the end, I was steering myself away from it, especially because of the boring-predictable plot. But then, the ending was fairly good, so that boosted up my happiness, just a little.
This is about Luc, who has always been warned about the Inside. The "mock-men" have always been classified as extremely dangerous. Now, Luc is all alone, and his mother's gone. Then, a mysterious man named Prof comes into town where Luc "works," and offers Luc a job after he almost got robbed. They both head into the Inside to study the dangerous chimpanzees. Luc then realizes the truth behind everything, and that includes the chimpanzees themselves. Can you fight for creatures that you love?
I seriously love Eliot Schrefer for his love of animals, specifically chimpanzees. I love monkeys, so dearly much. They're one of my favourite animals, and I seriously open my heart out to them. I have so much respect for people who are fighting anxiously to save endangered and beautiful species such as the chimps. Through reading this book, you can really see the love that this author has for these animals. He puts his heart and soul into it, and all of his thoughts about the surrounding world who may think differently.
The plot of this book wasn't the most enjoyable. I can very much see that Eliot's main idea here is to be aware and save the chimps. But he does it uniquely and that's great. It certainly had its dull moments where not much was happening and everything was all bread-and-butter like. So in that aspect, the book was a downer for me.
But I really opened my heart out to the characters. They were great. Luc was all rebellious and kick-ass and I liked him for that, but with the heart of his, it was even better. By the end, he had a great love for these primate relatives of ours, and that's just gorgeous to read about. I had my arms open to him and all of the monkeys.
My favourite character would have to be Prof. Despite everything that had happened, he was a remarkable person. Because of him, Luc got an opportunity to live his life in ways that he could never imagine of. He was a wise, unique person and believable. The feelings he showed were not fictional.
By the end, I was pleased with this book, but not as pleased as I was with Eliot's first book. The cover isn't attractive either. (A simplistic monkey cover, again?) It was an okay read, but nothing too special about it. The meaning is really beautiful, though.